2012 marks the seventh year of the increasingly popular London Korean Film Festival (LKFF), a popularity marked in the high profile success of movies such as Oldboy, The Host and this year’s recipient of Venice’s Golden Lion, Pieta.
Opening the festival is The Thieves, an all-star heist movie in the Oceans 11 mould that recently became the highest grossest movie in Korean box office history. Accompanying the screening will be a Q&A with its director Choi Dong-hoon and actor Kim Yoon-suk before a Gala Reception at the Odeon West End. With Korea’s success at the Olympics this year, it’s perhaps no surprise that the festival contains its fair share of sporting-related dramas, including As One, starring Doona Bae (The Host and the forthcoming Cloud Atlas) as a member of Korea’s 1991 Olympic ping pong team, the first post-war unified North-South team to compete. Closing the festival will be Masquerade, a fictionalisation of fifteen days during the reign of sixteenth-century monarch King Gwang-hae that went unaccounted for, and which will be followed by a Q&A with lead actor Lee Byung-hun (I Saw the Devil).
Other highlights include – appropriately enough given the unprecedented success of Gangnam Style – a K-pop strand celebrating the highs and lows of the industry, and a series of disparate animated features, such as violent morality tale King of Pigs, about a group of high school children run rampant and which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. Excitingly, the LKFF will also be launching their Korean Film Archive this year. Located at the Korean Cultural Centre, it will house over 2,800 films for the public to access for free, chronicling arich cinematic history that will doubtless be a source of much joy to cinephiles.
Presented by the Korean Cultural Centre UK, the London Korean Film Festival runs from Thursday 1 to Friday 16 November, with screenings at the Odeon West End and ICA. Tickets can be purchased from the official website.